Tuesday, September 20, 2011
September 19: Two days with little momentum in the right direction and I was ready to put that trend to bed. The sun wasn't on my side early, but neither had the rain continued in opposition. Instead thoughts of San Francisco popped into my mind amidst a heavy fog. The irrepressible mist clung thickly for most of the morning, limiting visibility to thirty feet or less. Cars drifted out of the soup with little warning. I picked up the pace but sheer motion had no effect on the weather. Griswold was a cloudy blur, if not for the fog lights at Casey's I probably wouldn't have noticed the town's existence. Casey's, if you're wondering, is the leading convenience store in these parts, beating out Kum and Go. I can not begin to imagine why.
Finally Ra's rays defeated the pesky moisture and the sky was clear by eleven when I trod into Elliott. I drew three aces at the library. Even though the building was closed until one, two women and one man were working inside and allowed me to check my e-mail. After some conversation about my quest with Ada and her two colleagues (Laura and Ada's husband Red) they were keen to help me any way they could. A phone call to Mel, the local pastor who happened to live in Henderson, my destination for the day, allowed me to relax in the knowledge I had a safe place to stay.
A juicy hamburger at J&W's followed and I made my way quickly out of Elliott. Seven hours of daylight remained and so too did fifteen miles of road. They were a mostly uneventful grind, although I am happy to report I met a state patrolman who was very polite and looking to assist me. Two points to the good for the boys in blue here in Iowa (I had forgotten to mention another nice lad near West Liberty).
By six I was growing extremely weary and sending prayers out for some sign of Henderson. An answer came quickly with the screech of brakes. Mel, returning from the church, was glad to take my bag and inform me I had only a little over a mile left to go. The news was music to my ears, not to mention shins and back.
In Henderson I was greeted by the preacher as well as the mayor, Claudia, and her husband Herb, who is on the town council. The latter two invited me to dine with them over in Donia (Macedonia) at the Back Forty.
Claudia and Herb had both worked at Union Carbide for over twenty years before being dragged into politics by the unexpected resignation of the previous mayor. They had just become great grandparents and the little one, Madison, joined us for a tremendous meal. The restaurant did not skimp on the portions - Claudia's was especially generous, I could have sworn there was a Mexican or two hiding underneath her massive pile of nachos.
Once supper was concluded I was taken back to Mel and Barbara's (his wife), who allowed me use of their shower. Afterward we headed to the city park where Mel helped me to set up my tent in the dark. Sleep came almost immediately after such a long hard slog. I knew I'd be safe there, after all I'm friends with the mayor. I know people, what can I say?
22 miles/1755 total miles